Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Duck fight!

Hubby dear doesn't like me to toss out old bread -- that's for feeding the ducks. Which he never gets around to, or if he does it's after stacks of bread have grown into a hefty pile on the table. Today I told him either the ducks get the bread, or the trash does. I added in some tortillas to the bread and naan. So he wings the tortillas out across the water, whole, like a Frisbee. See the floating discs below? That's the tortillas floating along unmolested by duck, goose or swan.
Next he tossed out the bread, properly broken into pieces. Which promptly started a duck fight (I missed the best of it, but you can see below the victor chasing away his foe). That's probably the most excitement we'll see all day.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

I am the champion, my friends...

I failed to mention it sooner, but early this month I actually won something! The latest book by Julie Cohen, "Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom." Yay, me! (Turns out Julie's an American living in Reading, like me. We should form a support group for Yanks Out of Water, though she probably doesn't need it at this point.)

How did I win, you might ask? I entered a competition on The Writing Playground where I described the most magical place I've ever visited (because Nina Jones is based around gorgeous Highgate Cemetery in London, the author's pick of a magical site). My pick? The Alabama Shakespeare Festival Park in Montgomery, Alabama, (the actual name is the Wynton Blount Cultural Park, but it's always the ASF park to me). Lovely theater, ponds filled with ducks and black swans, and a feeling of stepping out of the blandness of highways and shopping centers into a beautiful, peaceful world of quiet reflection once you enter the gates.

As for Nina Jones, I haven't read it yet due to the pressing weight from a stack of books yay high already battling for my attention. However, I did read another of Julie's books this month, "One Night Stand," which I bought when she gave a talk during local author day at the library. That book is set in Reading, and it was fun to see local landmarks pop up here and there and get a dose of romance.

And now on to some pictures of my favorite spot to linger, ASF park:

I adore this bridge. It's romantic and lovely and if you walk through that entrance to the right, there's a sheltered seating area overlooking a pond.

And this is the view from that little seating area. Divine.

And these are the HUGE fish you'll see frolicking away in the pond below. OK, maybe fish don't frolic, but whatever they do in there they've got a beautiful spot for it.

The park's a perfect location for a little sunset-watching.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Fire up the blur tool, that dude's smoking!

I noticed last night that cigarettes were blurred in sketches on The Soup on E!. So were guns (we assume they were toys gun and have no idea if they were realistic toys or even Barbie pink plastic). So in a country where you could almost surely show a closeup of someone getting a Brazilian wax after 9pm, you can't show someone holding a cigarette or a gun at 7pm? I've also noticed that Comedy Central bleeps "dumbass" on "That 70s Show" (and if you watch the show, you know that's practically Red's pet name for his son, so the bleeps are flying).

One of the things I like about Brit TV is that they don't seem to chop up and censor everything. You can actually watch a movie or an old episode of Sex and The City on non-premium channels and see it uncut and unedited, which beats the hell out of what most U.S. stations do. All of which makes it seem all the odder when they won't show a guy holding a cigarette! The blurs even make things seem nastier, because when you see a man with something blurred in front of his mouth, you wonder what could be so filthy they had to blur it -- until you realize he's smoking. We're in Bizarro World.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Southern Gas Social Club

There's an abandoned building by the canal with the windows boarded up and the gate chained. Over one doorway behind the gate is the sign: "Southern Gas Social Club." It's on Gas Works Road, so we presume it was a pub for employees of the gas company once upon a time? I can't find anything about it online, but it looks so interesting (with that mystery that all old, boarded up buildings seem to exude). It also looks like it could be converted into some great waterside flats. Or even a cool pub -- I'd hang out at a place called the Southern Gas Social Club.

If anyone knows the history of this building, please share!

And a view of the back from across the canal: